Standalone service stations and garages are losing do-it-for-me business at a rapid pace, a recent report warned.
Dealers, repair specialists and foreign specialists are scooping up their business amid a stronger push for customers as consumer preferences change.
“Light vehicle repair market dynamics have changed dramatically over the past ten years,” said the report from Lang Marketing. While the service stations and garages remain the most populous, their market share has been trending downward, it added.
The report, SS & Garage Spinout Alters the DIFM Market, noted that while the DIFM market was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, service station and garage product volume hasn’t yet recovered to 2019 numbers despite other segments seeing recovery.
Dealers have seen success in expanding their customer base beyond the new-to-five age category and nameplate mix in their bays.
“Their evolving service bay strategy included the addition of quick service lanes by many dealers and a growing dealer focus on used vehicles, which have boosted their DIFM volume,” Lang noted.
Repair and foreign specialists have also boosted their base over the last few years, it added, growing faster during the recovery years of 2021 and 2022.
Impeding service station and garage success is a lack of resources, the report highlighted.
“First, service stations and garages are mostly standalone operations that lack the financial resources to cope with the business challenges presented by the economic and social ramifications of COVID-19,” Lang said. “Second, many service stations and garage owners are reaching retirement age, and the challenges of COVID-19 and the changing competitive marketplace are causing many to retire earlier than planned.”
Lang expects service stations and garage DIFM product share to continue to decline. Even as the DIFM market grows, product sales won’t increase in this area.
“These developments will impact where auto repair is conducted, the brands of products used and the share of product volume,” the report said.